US sends supersonic bombers in show of force against North Korea
Tuesday’s flights by B-1Bs came shortly after the death of US college student Otto Warmbier.
The United States has flown two supersonic bombers over the Korean Peninsula in a show of force against North Korea, South Korean officials said.
The US often sends powerful warplanes in times of heightened animosities with North Korea, and flew B-1B bombers several times this year as the North conducted a series of banned ballistic missile tests.
Tuesday’s flights by B-1Bs came shortly after the death of US college student Otto Warmbier, who was recently released by North Korea in a coma following more than 17 months of captivity.
The US military said the bombers conducted two separate drills with the Japanese and South Korean air forces.
It said the flights demonstrated solidarity among South Korea, Japan and the United States “to defend against provocative and destabilising actions in the Pacific theatre”.
The United States stations tens of thousands of troops in South Korea and Japan.
Analysts said his death is likely to cast a shadow on relations between the US and North Korea and compound efforts by South Korea’s new liberal president to improve ties with the North.
Meanwhile, a coroner’s office in Ohio is investigating the death of Warmbier.
A spokesman for Hamilton County Coroner Dr Lakshmi Sammaraco said the office “accepted the case” of the 22-year-old college student who died on Monday in a Cincinnati hospital.
Mr Warmbier’s parents did not state a specific cause of death, but cited “awful, torturous mistreatment” by North Korea.
Doctors had described Mr Warmbier’s condition as a state of “unresponsive wakefulness” and said he suffered a “severe neurological injury” of unknown cause.
He arrived in Ohio on June 13 after being held for more than 17 months.
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